Over the past few months I have been trading emails with Rachel Glueck. She and her husband are living the dream – granted it is not a well-funded dream, but a dream nevertheless. So I am trying to help them out a bit. A friend in need is a friend in need of mezcal (and maybe a little cash in this case). Rachel and her husband Noel, are traveling Mexico in search of brilliant, ultra-small batch and undiscovered mezcals with the goal to start importing some of these under their own label, El Amor del Diablo Mezcal (translated as “The Devil’s Love”). But I am ahead of myself. Who are Rachel and Noel?
Their story is an old but familiar tale: Boy is Tezcatlipoca dancer. Girl sails the Caribbean in homemade boat. Girl meets boy at Aztec sweat lodge. Boy and girl do mezcal body shots. Girl and boy fall in love. Common but classic.
So what are these love birds doing? Well, Noel has mezcal blood running through his veins as both his father and grandfather were mezcaleros. And Rachel, well as far as I can tell, she is up for anything. So they are starting a brand and to do so they are crowd funding their research and start-up expenses. They are focused on supporting mezcaleros who only produce small-batch mezcals and value sustainability. I have no doubt that they are uncovering hidden gems deep in the heart of Mexico.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of small batch producers in Mexico who have been making mezcal for generations. They have great pride in their products yet have little ability to sell their fine mezcals beyond their immediate communities. This is where El Amor Diablo comes in. They cannot help them all, but even if they help a few, that is a worthy cause, and we as consumers will be happy they have made their way to the U.S.
I give Rachel and Noel a ton of credit for their passion, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit. They are really doing this on a shoestring – in fact, more like a tiny little piece of thread. They are traveling light, sleeping under the stars, eating ramen, and generally using their limited funds very wisely.
If you are inspired at all and want to contribute you can do that HERE. I did. And they have some really cool swag as well depending on the level of support you provide. Contributions start as low as $10. Me? I favor the $125 contribution because you get a whole host of items including the amazing book Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal!. Oh yeah I remember now, I wrote that!
So that is about it. It is a cool story and they are nice people trying to do something to help small producers. And I know any support you provide them will be greatly appreciated! In the meantime, drink mezcal!
P.S. I almost entitled this post “Save Rachel’s Purse!” They are so frugal (to their credit) that Rachel is trying to sell her purse for about $200 to pay for the registration of their business name. We cannot let that happen. God save the purse!
I am just back from an unbelievable Mezcal Fest (Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle) that was put on this weekend in San Francisco by my friends at Mezcalistas. They are likely to make this an annual event so pay attention next year and do what you have to do to get there! It was of the finest collection of mezcals you will ever see (unless you come to my apartment!) with most of the top brands and many many offerings that can only be found in Mexico. The event has me dreaming of wild agaves and beautiful mezcals with luscious flavors swirling down my throat. So it seems appropriate to put up this post on arroqueños, which has been lingering in my draft file for too long!
If you are a regular reader of this blog or have read my book Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal!,you are likely aware of the ongoing lovefest I have with mezcals made from Agave americana var. oaxacensis, sub-varietal arroqueño (say that ten times fast!). Or simply known as an arroqueño. Arroqueños are HUGE agaves and known to be the genetic mother of the Agave espadin (A. angustifolia), the most common type of agave from which mezcal is made.
So arroqueño is related to espadin and the taste profile is consistent with their respective genetics. However, my palate finds an arroqueño to be like a turbo-charged version of an espadin – powerful fruit and roasted agave surging upfront with great viscosity and a long lovely finish. And unlike some other wild agave varietals, an arroqueño has nothing polarizing in the flavor. My golf analogy would be that an arroqueño is a beautiful 325 yard drive right down the middle of the fairway – while I am not a golfer, that is one long drive. While it is smack down the middle, an arroqueño surpasses almost all others. You taste a great arroqueño and you instantly understand why people like me are nuts about mezcal (Me? Nuts about mezcal? Well OK, a tiny bit…).
As you may guess, I search out every bottle and brand of arroqueño I can find, and happily that are now several brands available in the U.S. Also, I have collected a few others in my travels that cannot yet be found stateside. So as I was surveying my mezcal collection, I realized that I now have eight unique bottles of arroqueño. What a gift from the agave gods! Here is what I have:
Mezcalero Release #9
Destileria Tlacolula, Special Bottling
MarcaNegra (a late addition to the post)
So I’ve been drinking these with my friends and fellow mezcal junkies, and also shipping multiple vials back and forth (don’t tell the Feds!) with my friend Mario who lives on the West Coast to share impressions on this handful of great mezcals. But due to random comings and goings of my friends, and varied acquisition times of bottles, we were unfortunately unable to do a full scale side-by-side tasting of these arroqueños. Still, some favorites emerged from our machinations and what follows is a collection of our opinions.
Key contributors were my friend John who has a mezcal palate that far exceeds mine (not hard to do) so he is a real asset to have around a bottle of mezcal – which he always seems to have with him! And my afore mentioned friend Mario, who if you read my book, you would know has undergone a Faceoff-like transformation from mezcal doubter to mezcal evangelist (and who’s with me on the Faceoff reference??!!).
A few comments on the bottles. Of the eight listed, five can be found in the U.S.: Mezcalero, Vago, Jolgorio, Del Maguey, and MarcaNegra. You probably have to buy them online unless you have a very good local liquor store. On Mezcalero, all other Mezcalero releases (two through eight – I never did see Release #1 and am not sure it ever existed) are ensembles and most are excellent. So I was psyched when Release #9 came out as a single expression arroqueño. Siete Misterios was the first arroqueño available in the U.S. and it wows, but sadly can no longer be found – let’s hope it does a Lebron and returns to Cleveland….er….uh….the U.S. MarcaNegra has just released three new offerings to complement their fine espadin and tobala – they now have this arroqueño, a dobadan, and a yummy ensemble.
Vago and Jolgorio are relative newcomers to the scene (both arrived in 2013) and they each have several amazing mezcals. You see the Nizabisahio brand regularly in the Oaxaca area and it means “spiritual water of kindness” in Zapotec….very calming. And I obtained a specially bottled arroqueño at the Destileria Tlacolula which is where Ilegal is produced. The producer had made a batch of mezcal with arroqueños and he was not sure what he was going to do with it. I thought giving a bottle to me was a great idea! OK, I paid for it, and gladly.
That all said, here are our collective impressions.
Mezcalero Release #9. It is fruit-forward as I find most arroqueños to be, though this one seemed to have a bit more smoke than we would like – overpowering the flavor a tad. Also, I get a bit more alcohol here than some of the others though it is has a lower ABV than most of these. My friend John found it to be “rougher” which could be due to the perceived stronger presence of alcohol. And he also tasted a bit of tar, which fortunately was absent for me.
Mezcal Vago. Decidedly less fruit forward than the rest of the group, and by far the most complex. I find most of the Mezcal Vago line to be fairly complex and inconsistently wonderful with the rest of the mezcal world. Trust me, that’s a compliment. Here, the roasted agave and earthiness jump out more so than the fruit, and the finish has a bit of alcohol. Overall, it feels dark: dark fruit, brown sugar, cooked agave, ash. John found it to be “alive” and changing with each sip. No doubt this is a great mezcal, and I will drink it happily, but I would never guess it is an arroqueño. It is truly a mezcal lover’s mezcal due to its deep complexity with a bit of roughness.
El Jolgorio. On the nose, this is rich with the smell of ripe bananas. For me, it screams bananas but my friends did not find this as pronounced as I did. I can literally smell it from three feet away. The fruitiness carries over to the palate with full citrus. I get a bit of alcohol on the finish, but man is this a great arroqueño, and a great mezcal in general. At the time we did the tasting, I only had a sample bottle, but it is so good, I now have the big boy (which can run $150+ depending on where you buy it).
Del Maguey. For me, Del Maguey keeps it right down the middle – and gloriously at that. This is from their Vino de Mezcal series – they have a release of a limited batch varietal and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Their arroqueño is the quintessential arroqueño – fruit forward with roasted agave, citrus, a bit of smoke, and a velvety texture with a great finish. Soooo good.
Siete Misterios. This is my first arroqueño love so it will be hard to knock it off the top of the mountain. Just like in sports, you are still the champion until someone beats you. And while I am not certain it is still the champ, it’s really good. Siete has a wine-like viscosity – smooth and creamy. It bursts with fruitiness upfront with a bit of heat, yet it is floral as well. Floral and heat are not usually found together in a mezcal, and it works very well here. It has a little more earthiness to it than the others in the tasting and finishes cleanly. That said, this was a fresh bottle of Siete (having gone through many others previously), and maybe my memory is faulty, but this seemed a step below previous bottles. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm whether they are different lots. Either way, it is really good.
Nizabisahio. This is a very interesting mezcal. It is quite herbal, both on the nose and on the tongue. It has a bit of fruit and roasted agave but that herbal quality is ever present. When I taste herbal, I think tepeztate. So to me, this is closer to an arroqueño and tepeztate blend than a pure arroqueno. None of us were very interested in this. It is OK, but like the Vago, I would never guess that it is an arroqueño, and it is not in the Vago’s league as a mezcal.
Destileria Tlacolula. As I mentioned, this is from the producer of Ilegal who makes a lovely, light smoke, approachable espadin. I find that this arroqueño follows that pattern. It does not overpower you with its fruitiness or smoke. We found it to be lightly floral with hints of butterscotch. It is very well-balanced, yet has that robustness that I love in an arroqueño.
Mezcal MarcaNegra. This bottle arrived long after this post was mostly finished (yet still unpublished), so I was the only one to try to it. The nose is brilliant – bursting with fresh fruit of citrus, mango,, and banana! My mouth was watering before my first taste. It is a classic arroqueño in both smell and taste – robust and fruity and yummy. At almost 49% ABV I did get a bit of alcohol on the finish, which was not as elegant as the body. But overall, really excellent.
So where does that leave us? Well, the two underperformers were the Mezcalero and Nizabisahio. I was the only one who tried the Niza and I would put it at the bottom of the list, though let’s be clear it is still a fine mezcal just not as good as the rest. The Mezcalero was good but both John and Mario had it at the bottom of their final list (they each only tried four of the eight). But to tell you how good all of these are, Mario initially thought the Mezcalero was one of the best, but once revisited, he moved it down. The things you taste in a mezcal change based on who you are drinking with, the time of day, what you are eating, and many other factors. There are few absolutes so I always try to revisit bottles even if my initial impressions were not favorable.
The Vago was John’s top choice (among his four of Vago, Tlacolula, Siete and Mezcalero) with the Tlacolula a close second. As I said he is a true mezcal lover and this is made for someone like him. Mario found the Vago to be excellent but he was looking for more true arroqueño, which is not the strength of this bottle. Me? I love it. It is dark and mysterious and wonderfully complex as described above, but I would never guess it is an arroqueño.
The Jolgorio is outstanding and clearly near the top. Mario found it to be the brightest mezcal he had ever tasted and speculated that the agaves are planted among a lot of citrus trees (Kaj?). Yet, his top pick remains the Siete. Perhaps like me, he holds a special place in his heart (or palate) for his first love, and the Siete arroqueño was in the U.S. before the others, so that positive bias is hard to shake. So he has the Siete at the top with the Jolgorio a close second.
My turn. The bottles in the top five are easy to choose, but ranking them is more challenging. In no particular order yet, Vago, Jolgorio, Tlacolula, Del Maguey, and MarcaNegra. You cannot go wrong with any of these five and don’t hesitate to spend your hard earned cash if you want an awesome mezcal. You will notice that sadly, Siete does not make the top five and has drifted away for me on a comparative basis. Still a great mezcal but these other five get the edge here.
I think for me, the Jolgorio and the Del Maguey are neck and neck for my favorite arroqueño. While I love the Vago, it is just not arroqueño-y enough! The Tlacolula has a bit too much alcohol on the finish so it falls back as does the MarcaNegra for similar reasons. Hmmm…..Jolgorio or Del Maguey……Del Maguey or Jolgorio? Caddyshack or Stripes? How can you choose??
In a photo finish I think I give the nod to the Del Maguey because in my mind it is exactly what an arroqueño should be: robust, fruity, smooth, light smoke and heat, velvety texture, and a lovely long roasted agave finish. The Jolgorio is right there as well, and I am really splitting hairs here with almost all of these great mezcals (I might set the Nizabisahio aside). As suggested, there are no mistakes among MarcaNegra, Del Maguey, Vago, Jolgorio, or Mezcalero (these are the five you can find in the U.S.). With a virtual certainty, I could go through round after round of tasting and reach different conclusions every time – they are all that good!
Arroqueños can take up to 30yrs to grow in the wild, though closer to 15yrs with some maintenance. So who knows what the future will hold with respect to their availability – like all agaves, the resource is not infinite. My recommendation is to buy them now because there is no guaranty you will find them in the future. You can tell your kids about them someday!!
I get a lot of emails asking me where to start when it comes to buying a bottle of mezcal. Some are from people looking to dip their toes into the mezcal waters, and others are from people who already know they love mezcal but are looking for that price/value tradeoff. Also, many want to know where they can buy mezcal since it is not available at their local liquor store.
With that in mind I thought it would be useful to put together a list of brands, prices, and online liquor stores for your convenience. My book, Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! has a complete list of every brand available in the U.S. Now this list by no means contains every brand you can find (I have another post on that too), and I stopped it at $75 because we are clearly getting past the entry level at that price. I focused on the brands that are the most commonly seen PREMIUM mezcals, so admittedly it is a bit subjective (but that’s what I do). For the price comparison, I chose six online sellers that I think have a combination of wide selection and good pricing, and they also happen to be where I buy a lot of mezcal.
I generally took the entry point for each brand, which is usually the joven. In a few cases, brands have a cocktail oriented version which is even more attractively priced and I included those as well. But if a brand has a reposado or other expressions for under $75, I did not include those. Maybe next time. Again, the focus is the brand’s entry point.
Here are my Mezcal Starter Kit Recommendations:
Andrews Wine Cellar
Old Town Liquor
El Buho Mezcal
Del Maguey Vida
Fidencio Clasico Joven
Pierde Almas La Puritita
Don Amado Plata
Alipus San Andreas
Ilegal Mezcal Joven
Mezcal Vago Espadin
Mezcales de Leyenda Oaxaca
Delirio de Oaxaca Joven
Marca Negra Espadin
Los Amantes Joven
Los Nahuales Joven
Pierde Almas Espadin
Del Maguey Chichicapa
El Silencio Joven
I enjoyed putting this together because I learned a few things as well. A few observations:
There really are not a very large number of widely dispersed good mezcals. There are only twenty names on this list – so only twenty premium mezcals can be found at at least two places online. By comparison, if you did this with tequila, I am sure you would get well into the 100s of brands. That said, there are probably another 10-20 brands that are quite good but I could only find them at one place online.
You generally get what you pay for with mezcal. The brands at the top of the list with the lowest prices are geared toward cocktail consumption. Most of them I would sip in a pinch no problem, but if I really want a sipping mezcal I am moving into the $40+ price range.
I am not deeply familiar with every brand here. I have most of these bottles, and have tried them all, but a few I have tasted only sparingly.
There are some brands in the $30-$50 range which you will not find here even though they are readily available – names like Wild Shot and Zignum come readily to mind. They are not here because I don’t recommend them.
You also will not find cheaper brands like Monte Alban and Oro de Oaxaca here because I would not drink those either. If you are not willing to spend at least $30, you are not going to get a very good mezcal. If you have a different opinion, let me know!
A few brand specific comments:
Of the first five names on the list, I would give Wahaka Espadin the best marks for versatility because it works great in cocktails, but I also find it to be the best sipper of the five.
For another $10 or so Don Amado has a “Rustico”, which is an espadin joven and far better than their plata. I would spend the extra $10.
Alipus has four different versions – I think San Andreas is the best, and they are generally all priced the same. Last fall they came out with their Santa Ana Del Rio, and I was not very fond of it on one tasting.
Scorpion is a fine spirit but it lacks the smokiness that I love in mezcal as it is produced in above ground ovens. Still artisanally made, but a different taste profile if you like a smoky mezcal.
Ilegal is an excellent introductory mezcal as the smoke, while strongly present to the uninitiated mezcal drinker, is less pronounced than most other brands so it is more approachable.
Vago made a splash as a new brand in 2013 by bringing in excellent quality mezcals. They also have an “Elote” which has a roasted corn infusion for a few dollars more than the espadin. I cannot quite get the sweetness of the corn on my palate but it is a great mezcal.
Delirio is relatively unknown to me as I have only tried it once and it made an uninspiring impression. Admittedly, it needs more investigation. They are a west coast brand and I have never seen them in NYC.
Los Amantes is triple distilled so a very soft mezcal. This can be appealing to mezcal newbies.
Pierde Almas Espadin, while expensive, is worth every penny.
El Silencio, another 2013 newcomer, is pricey but also very good – it is an ensemble of three agaves (it does not say which on the bottle but I seem to recall espadin, tobasiche, and mexicano).
Of these online sellers, I use them all regularly depending on what I am buying. Andrews is great if you are buying many bottles because shipping is free with orders over $250.
So that’s it for now. I have been a bit quiet on the blog in recent months as I have been pouring my energy into a book. This is perhaps the first official mention of it (though I promise you will be bombarded in the future!). The book is “Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! The Complete Guide from Agave to Zapotec”. I wrote it because I believe mezcal needs this book. It will be out in the next few months, and I am pretty sure it will not be a waste of your hard earned dollars. Until then, drink mezcal!
I have been wanting to write this post for awhile as a follow up to my Zignum post, but have been slow to get to it. My friends at Mezcalistas recently put up an excellent piece that touches on many economic issues that need to be addressed by the multitude of stakeholders in the mezcal world. Continuing the sustainability theme, I want to highlight the few examples I know of where brands and producers are taking positive steps on the sustainability of the important natural resources that go into mezcal: primarily agave, wood and water.
The most significant issue is the sustainability of the agave population. As has been discussed by many, agaves take anywhere from eight to thirty years to reach maturity. Agave espadin, the predominant agave used to make mezcal, matures in eight to twelve years. Obviously, this is unlike other agricultural products used to make spirits which can be planted, grown and harvested within a year – think grapes, wheat, rye, barley, potatoes, and sugarcane to name a few.
Agave does not have it this good, and therein lies a large problem. Crop management is paramount. I will update this post if I hear from other brands about some of the things they may be doing around this theme of sustainability. Here are a few that I am aware of:
Pierde Almas. In 2013, founder Jonathan Barbieri and a resolute group of about 20 others, planted over 1,000 baby tobalas in the mountains outside San Baltazar Chichicapan. This is a fantastic reforestation effort as tobalas are rare and do not produce much mezcal per plant as they are quite small even at maturity. I have heard it is an annual event, but I am not sure how many times they have done this so far. Jonathan?
Agaves Silvestres (yes, “Agaves” is meant to be plural). This is a project started by the guys from Wahaka Mezcal. They purchased land in Oaxaca to start a nursery for madrecuixe and tobala. Then they partnered with the local schools to foster an “Adopt an Agave” program. Each child adopts an agave, replants it in the wild when the agave is 3-4 years old, then Wahaka pays market prices for the agaves at maturity. The funds go to buy books and supplies for the local schools. Great idea!
El Buho. I had a long discussion with John Henry, passionate founder of the brand. He is deeply concerned with rumors that Oaxacan agave espadins are routinely transported out of Oaxaca to Jalisco for tequila production. If true, he feels stopping this is mission number one for today. The question is how do you stop it? There is no immediate answer. On the overall topic of sustainability, he views mezcal a bit like the wine business: each vintage has limited production and when you have no more agave, you stop. This focuses on estate grown agave and not the wide sourcing of agave from wherever you can get it. El Buho grows their own and does buy from other growers, but endeavors to build long-term relationships with any supplier they use and plan for appropriate crop management.
Don Amado. They are one of the oldest brands around having in started in 1994, and their producer has been practicing and teaching agave management for years – including crop replacement, soil care and harvesting. Also, they have built a state-of-the-art water purification system to treat and recycle waste water from mezcal production. Finally, they only utilize “fallen” trees for their wood – no chopping down of live trees.
El Jolgorio. They only work with small producers who use wild agaves. The producers will not harvest more than what is available and ready. As a result, El Jolgorio production will be relatively small per expression – they have eight unique varietals (see my prior post for more), and they are OK with that. So am I! Produce what you reasonably can and no more – good plan.
So that is my starter kit of what a handful of brands and producers are currently doing. I am certain than many others have projects or procedures in place to help the sustainability cause.
If you are a brand owner or producer and want to contribute to this list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, drink mezcal!!
When most people taste mezcal, the immediate response is “it’s smoky”, and that would certainly be correct. Some more than others, but smoky nevertheless. But as you get into mezcal, and spend more time with it, you start to find that there is a lot more subtlety and complexity beneath that smoky front. With the help of my friend Ivan Saldana, we are going to get in deeper.
As an aside, there is a saying in the mezcal world that goes…”mezcal is an acquired taste, but a taste worth acquiring.” I believe this is primarily said because of the smokiness. But interestingly, I am finding that this seems to be less and less accurate. I have introduced mezcal to MANY people, and really, it is only about 1 or 2 people out of every 10 that don’t like it on the first sip. So I don’t know if palates are changing and people have become more accustomed to unique spirits, but I increasingly find that most people like mezcal right out of the gate. (more…)
There is a debate going around in the mezcal community (yes, there is a community for pretty much everything – are you a member of the A-Rod’s Homeopathic Treatments Club?) about what the definition is of Traditional Mezcal. I think I know where this started, and I am certain it will not end here, but I wanted to throw my hat in the ring on this debate.
For the most part, I think this whole debate is a problem of nomenclature. The nomenclature part is simple: as soon as you say one thing is “traditional”, that means everything else is not. The problem is that many news outlets, websites, and blogs picked up a recent piece of literature on traditional mezcal, and they are publishing it as gospel. I think there is more to the story. Let’s see if we can sort it out. (more…)
Recently, I put up a post on why mezcal is happening now. I started thinking about this again (well, OK, I am always thinking about this) as I saw yet another article where they described the recent popularity of mezcal as “Mezcal’s Moment.” And I realized that this drives me crazy! Just Google “Mezcal’s Moment” and see how many misguided articles pop up!
“Mezcal’s Moment” aggravates me. Bothers me. Annoys me. It’s not gross like the guy I recently saw clipping his nails on the subway, but just simply wrong. You may ask why I am up in arms over this when this whole blog is about celebrating mezcal?? Well, it is because “a moment” suggests a temporary condition. Mezcal is not a temporary condition! (more…)
Like many of my posts, I try to hit upon themes that I hear about all the time from friends, family and people I meet. If I had a bottle of mezcal for every time I am asked “What is mezcal?”, I would have quite a collection. And I have quite a collection – see what I mean?
What is mezcal? Why is everyone talking about it? (well, maybe not everyone – just everyone who knows ANYTHING about ANYTHING!). Mezcal is any spirit that is distilled from an agave – though not everyone can label it as such as you will see below. So tequila is a mezcal, for example, because it is made from the blue agave. What distinguishes mezcal is where it is made in Mexico, the production process, and the types of agaves used. I go into depth on this topic in a variety of previous posts so check out THIS ONE from last August if you want more on this.
Now on to what I really want to write about in this piece: Why Is Mezcal Happening Now? There is not an obvious answer, and for that reason, I wanted to explore the topic. So let’s start with a bit of background.
I live in NYC and have been a passionate premium tequila lover for close to 20yrs. As the premium tequilas (and I am not talking about the only-margarita-worthy Patron)really began to come to market in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I began to get deeper into great tequilas. Then when my wife dubbed me a “tequila collector” I felt I had license to really go nuts, and the bottles really began to pile up!
But mezcal in the late 90’s and first half of the 00’s? It barely existed. I would dabble (and I loved it) when I saw a bottle of Del Maguey, but that was rare. I am talking really rare. Rarer than the NY Post front page without Lindsay Lohan and a bottle of Jack. .
There was a night a few years ago when I decided to have my own very private mezcal tasting. I had collected a few very nice bottles at that point and wanted to try them side by side to compare, contrast, and enjoy. But by myself? Sure. Why not? Just me and my booze. But my wife was worried about me, my parents called, neighbors knocked, the dog barked (imagine my shock since I don’t have one). They thought I was going over the edge (the edge of glory perhaps!). But it was alright. I had a great time and learned a few things along the way.
Here we go. Strap on your agave nerd hat! I have been working on this new piece for months. I put up my first post on this topic in May, but I have learned more since then and this list is better. Perfect? No. But better. You see, it is a difficult topic to tackle. Let’s start with the mezcal regulators.
Mezcal had its first modernized set of government regulations, called NORMA in 1994. A new NORMA was drawn up for mezcal in 1997 and revised in 2005. Under the new laws, all mezcal production must be certified in order to sell or export it. The NORMA lists only 5of the common varieties of agave from which mezcal can be made, such as espadin and tobala.(more…)